Now appearing in your local Target’s clearance bin: Sonia Kashuk “Make A Face” Brush Set

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Okay, so that title is actually a little misleading. I have no idea whether this will be in your local Target’s clearance bin. When it comes to clearance, it’s all about what the individual store didn’t sell the first time around, and how long it lasts once it goes on clearance. (In fact, on target.com this is still listed at full price, $24.99) But I found this in my local Target’s clearance bin, and I thought I’d share my thoughts in case the low price tag caught the eye of any of my readers–also, if you’re interested you can keep an eye out (I mean, assuming you’re not like me, trolling the clearance section on a regular basis).

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The Sonia Kashuk “Make a Face” Brush Set is a limited edition set of 4 face brushes. They are really beautiful, with gold detailing, a black and white rose photographic design on the handles, shiny black ferrules, and aqua bristles. The brushes are full-sized, but boast a compact design, with short, squat handles. The handles are flat at the end, so these brushes can stand up if you set them on a flat surface.  At $12.48 (local clearance price), they seemed like a serious deal, since not only were they gorgeous, but Sonia Kashuk brushes are usually reputed to be of good quality.

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First up is a rounded powder brush. The head of this is large, though not as large as my Real Techniques powder brush. It would work well for bronzer, and is big enough to use as  powder brush (though wouldn’t be my first choice.)

 

 

 

The next brush is described as a “duo fiber multipurpose brush to highlight cheekbones”, though frankly this description seems a bit bizarre. It’s not much smaller than the powder brush, and I think if I tried using this for highlighter I would end up looking like the proverbial disco ball. I’ve been using this brush for blush (though not very frequently), but even as a blush brush I find it a little large.

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This brush has a pinched ferrule, so that it’s a bit flattened. which does make it a little easier to control–though I generally prefer a round, fluffy blush brush.

I think the next brush is my favorite of the bunch. It’s a flat top brush, with a blunt cut, similar to Sigma’s ever-popular F80 Flat-Top Kabuki. Though the Sigma version is both denser and softer, this is a perfectly serviceable brush. I use it both for liquid foundation and for buffing on mineral foundation or powder.

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What I find odd is that this brush is described as a “synthetic flat top multipurpose blush brush to add color to the apples of cheeks.” I would never have imagined using a brush this shape for blush, and I have to admit I haven’t tried it. Who knows, maybe they’re onto something.

The final brush, though, is definitely the weirdest.

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This is described as a “flat top sculpting brush for effortless contouring”, and indeed I can’t imagine what you would use something this shape for if not contouring. But while I like the shape, the bristles are so short and so densely packed that the brush head ends up feeling very stiff–almost hard. You could easily pick up far too much product with this, and don’t expect to do any blending.

I will admit, though, I have found a use for this. I’ve been using it with a cream contour product I got from Tarte that’s a little on the drier side, so a fluffy brush won’t usually pick it up. But I do have to go back and blend with a different brush.

All in all, I think these brushes fare better when judged by aesthetic rather than practical standards. Though I illicitly fondled the bristles before I bought them and they seemed quite soft, when using the brushes on my face I found them to be far scratchier that my other brushes. While the the handles of the brushes feel well-made, the bristles feel cheap a poor quality. I think I’ll end up using these to adorn my makeup table rather than putting them into regular rotation.

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LOTD: LORAC Pro 2 x 2!

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Though I just posted a look with the LORAC Pro 2 yesterday, I just couldn’t help it. I had to post another. So far, I’m loving this palette.

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This time I started by blending “Nectar” just above the crease to serve as a transition color. Then I used “Cool Gray” in the crease, “Rosé” on the inner half of the eyelid, and “Mocha” on the outer half of the eyelid, and blended under the lower lash line. I darkened the outer corner with “Cocoa”, and brightened the inner corner with “Beige”.

 

I used “Buff” above the color and on the brow bone, to make sure everything was well blended. I smudged a little brown Sephora Collection Eyeliner at the base of the lashes, and tight lined with Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl eyeliner in Black.  My mascara of the day is Too Faced Better than Sex.

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I was really happy with how this look turned out. I wasn’t sure if the “Cocoa” shade was going to be dark enough to give real contrast, but it actually reads darker once applied. It definitely. Rosé was also darker than I expected, but it’s really pretty.

Expect more on the LORAC Pro 2 soon!

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LOTD: LORAC Pro 2!

It’s here!

I got my LORAC Pro 2 in the mail, and I’ll definitely be doing a review as soon as I’ve had a chance to test it out a bit.

Even though I was running late for work, I couldn’t resist doing a quick look with it.

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Over a coat of NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, I blended “Lt. Brown” into the crease, then patted   “Beige” all over the lid, but blended a little of “Rosé” on top. I also took “Beige” into the inner corner. I added a tiny bit of “Black” in the outer corner, and smudged over Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in “Zero” at the lash line.  I finished with a couple of coats of Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes! Mascara.

In other news of my face, I used my Tarte Colored Clay Foundation, Milani Even-Tone Powder Foundation on top to set it (and for extra coverage), and TheBalm’s Frat Boy on my cheeks.

But by then, I had taken so much time ogling my new palette that I was almost late for work, and had to put on my lip color in the car!

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LOTD: Bridesmaid Style (and where the heck have I been??)

So00000000………………

It’s been a while.

I wish I had a better excuse, but honestly life just got the best of me. I left the country for a week and a half to go to my best friend’s wedding in France. With the stuff that piled up at work and at home, I’ve been playing catch-up ever since–still am. But I’m going to try to slowly get back into things. I have several reviews planned, some new book recommendations–and, I finally broke down and bought the LORAC PRO 2, so expect to see a post on that one soon.

For now, I thought I’d share my bridesmaid style with you all.

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The dress is the Heidi in silk chiffon in the shade “bright coral” from the J. Crew website. The J. Crew wedding collection is absurdly overpriced just because it says “wedding”, and I had to order this dress 4 different times before I got the sizing figured out. But it is really pretty, and it’s a dress I can see myself wearing again–it doesn’t scream “bridesmaid!”, so I could see wearing it out to lunch with a cardigan on top. But I would have to do something about that cleavage, because I do not normally walk around hanging out of my clothes like that. Seriously, J. Crew?

I wore it with  nude, patent leather strappy heeled sandals, which I had to take off at this point because they were killing me. My necklace is from Forever21. You probably can’t see my nails, but I’m wearing Julep’s “Clara”, which I reviewed previously.

With wedding photos weighing on my mind I spent quite a lot of time primping. I won’t go through every product here–just hit the high notes.

Because of the coral dress and gold accessories, I stuck with warm neutrals for my eye makeup. I used Makeup Geek’s “Sweet Dreams” pigment all over my lid, then pulled out my Urban Decay Naked Palette, blending “Buck” into the crease and softening the edges with “Naked”. Then I wanted a slightly warm toned highlight, so I switch to my Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette, using “Venus” as my inner-corner highlight, “Foxy” as my browbone highlight, and “Crave” to darken up the outer corner. My eyeliner is the mini of Benefit’s They’re Real! Push Up Liner that I got as a sample from Sephora (loving this, btw), and the mascara is Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes!, shellacked with Anastasia’s Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat just in case I got sappy, which I totally didn’t think would really happen but it did! And the stuff works, thank goodness. Brow’s are Anastasia’s Brow Wiz in “Ebony.”

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I used MAC Pro Longwear Concealer as my foundation since it blends out so nicely. I like to do this when I travel because the tiny pump bottles are like little baby foundation bottles just perfect for on the go, and since the product gives so much coverage, I don’t need much in the way of concealer on top. I used Tarte’s “Crave” from their holiday blush palette on my cheeks, and MAC’s “Ravishing” on my lips.

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So that’s all for now, but I’ll be catching up on some posts real soon, I promise!

 

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My Picks for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Recently got my catalog with a sneak peek of the Nordstrom anniversary sale. I thought I’d share a few of the highlights. (Sorry for the photo quality. I couldn’t find pics online, so I had to settle for scanning the catalog.)

Sale officially starts July 18, but Nordstrom card holders get early access starting July 10. Offers available in-store and at shop.nordstom.com

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Dolce Vita Yazmina Multi-Wrap Bootie $169.90 – Love the duotone, and the chain embellishment on these shoes. Edgy but still classy. Would look fabulous with jeans!

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Steal me some of Stila’s Color Balm Lipsticks!

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Recently, Ulta had select shades of Stila’s new(isn) Color Balm Lipsticks on sale for $12. I’ve heard great things about them, so though I need more lippies like a hole in the head, I couldn’t resist grabbing a few to try out the formula.

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Best and Worst…Drugstore Makeup Wipes!

IMG_3126I’ve been meaning for quite some time to do a post on makeup wipes. These little multitaskers have become a staple of my beauty routine. I use them to remove the bulk of my makeup at night before cleansing. I use them to remove swatches. I sometimes use them in the morning when I’m getting ready to sanitize and remove product from my hands. As you can see, I go through a lot of these, so I’ve had a chance to try several, and I thought I’d share what I thought were the best, the worst, and the merely average.

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LOTD | Multi-dimensional with MAC

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I had a somewhat butterfly-inducing meeting today: I was going to reconnect with a manager from a firm that almost hired me a year to find out if they might have any new opportunities on the horizon. I wanted to look nice and put together, but still casual and natural, not trying too hard. I decided to reach for some go-to products from MAC’s Extra Dimension line.

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What I’m Watching: Pride and Prejudice

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I don’t often talk film on this blog, but after my recent post reflecting on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought I’d post a a follow-up giving props to the original. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to reread Austen’s novel, but I satisfied my craving for authentic Austen by turning to the next best thing: the BBC’s 1995 mini-series adaptation.

I won’t go on and on here, except to mention that if you’re wanting to dive into Austen’s world, but are intimidated by the archaic language of the books, or simply don’t have the time, this series is a wonderfully executed and a faithful adaptation of this classic love story. (Much more so than the more recent feature-film remake, which cuts out much of the novel’s content). It’s beautifully shot, well-acted, and well-cast. Even better–it features a very young, very sexy Colin Firth who is dashing throughout and at one point surprisingly and gratuitously filmed in the bath. Yeah, I watched the entire 6-hour series in one go.

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Review: Kat Von D Autograph Pencil “Puro Amor”

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If you tend to buy a lot of beauty products, especially palettes and value sets, chances are you have about 20 black pencil eyeliners, since they seem to come with practically every product I buy.

If this is, in fact, the case, you probably don’t need this Kat Von D Autograph pencil in “Puro Amor”–or, as we consumers call it, “black.” While it’s usable, I think there are many black liners out there that are superior.

“Puro Amor” retails for $10 for 0.028 oz. exclusively at Sephora (the only chain which carries the Kat von D brand). Before you get too excited by that price, this is significantly less product than, say, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Pencils at 0.04 oz., but it’s still definitely on the less expensive end of products you can get at Sephora. I ended up with this liner because it came packaged with my True Romance Eyeshadow Palette (review coming soon).

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At first glance, this product seems decent. It’s creamy and glides on smoothly, though it’s certainly not the blackest of black liners. It smudges easily–rather too easily, in fact, as it quickly starts to blend away and lose opacity. I also find that this smudge-ability persists, with the liner never really setting properly, and tending to smudge, migrate, or fade throughout the day.

I like this liner as a base for powder eyeshadow. If I want to do a smokey eye, so I’ll be layering a shadow on top to bump up the color and help with staying power, the smudginess of this liner is a welcome trait. But I find that I’m really limited with this liner. If I try to do a defined, crisp line, it won’t be dark enough and won’t stay put. If I use it on the waterline, or under the lower lashline, I’ll end up with some panda eyes. Given how many fantastic black liners there are out there–even at a much lower price point–I can’t see ever purchasing this one by choice.

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